This page contains links to hazard notices for navigation safety hazards on waterways in the Canterbury Region that have been notified to the Harbourmaster's Office.

These hazards are ones that are considered to be out of the ordinary for their location, rather than the kinds of things that any prudent vessel skipper or boatie would normally be looking out for. It should not be considered an exhaustive list of any and all hazards.

Historic fencing may pose risk in Canterbury rivers

5 January 2021

Rivers including the Poulter, Waiau, Waipara and Okuku may be adjacent to historic fencing that could encroach on the waterways.

River users are advised to check the area they are boating in prior to using the river. Before entering the water please ensure you are aware of any hazards and take safety precautions to avoid getting entangled.

If you come across any man-made hazards on the river, please take a photograph with details of the exact location and send it to harbourmaster@ecan.govt.nz. If you are also aware of the contact details for the adjoining landowners, please also forward this information. We can then update our hazards page so the public is aware of any action being taken to remediate the issue.

Boaties beware of submerged debris in Lake Aviemore

5 January 2021

Recreational boaties should be extra careful when returning to the waters of Lake Aviemore, as the recent downpour dislodged large logs and debris from the surrounding hillsides.

Environment Canterbury deputy harbourmaster Gary Manch said after heavy rainfall in the Canterbury high country, the debris has ended up in Lake Aviemore, causing a potentially dangerous situation for any unaware boaties.

"The logs and debris can sit just a few inches underneath the water's surface and would cause considerable damage to any vessel that comes into contact with it," he said.

"Take it easy when you're coming back to the lake. Keep your speed low until you're satisfied there is no risk in the area you're boating."

Rangitata River – sub-surface hazard, approximately 4.5km upstream of SH1 Bridge

2 December 2020

A sub-surface hazard approximately 4.5km upstream of SH1 Bridge has been notified by Transpower. River users are advised to navigate with extra caution in this area. Updates will be provided as the removal work progresses.

Transpower recently completed restoration work following damage to the Roxburgh to Islington transmission line, which was caused by the flooding of the Rangitata River in December 2019.

One transmission tower, Tower 771, had to be replaced in a new location. The damaged tower structure has been removed, however, due to river levels, the remains of the tower foundations have not been able to be retrieved. These are currently 1-2m below the surface.

When flow conditions are favourable, plans to remove the foundations will be put in place. The foundations are expected to be removed in early 2021.

A yellow buoy has been attached to the foundation and will be checked during regular line patrols. Coordinates of both the old tower and new tower are shown below.

Rangitata river hazard location map

Lake Benmore – temporary reserved area in place during times of rock blasting

12 July-24 December 2020

Rock blasting is planned on shore at Lake Benmore related to the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. To protect lake users from potential harm caused by falling debris, no vessel shall navigate within the Reserved Area as pictured in the attached notice [LINK] during times of rock blasting (unless express permission has been granted by the certificate holder).

The notice is in place from 12 July 2020 – 24 December 2020.

Read the full notice here (PDF File, 915.97KB).

Tekapo River - cable hazard

6 March 2020

There is a potential hazard on the Tekapo River, about 200m upstream of its confluence with the Pukaki River, with the installation of poles either side of the river with a cable across the poles.

Extreme care is required as this may cause a hazard to jet boaters and kayakers at higher river flows.

River at low flow
River at higher flow

Hazardous material in Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

13 February 2020

There are chunks of material (ie, plastic wool) breaking off a trial floating wetland, just south of Timberyard Point and Overton’s Bay in Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.

The floating wetland is between the wave-barrier and the shore. We are urging skippers and other lake users to be cautious when out on the water – keep speeds to a minimum and remain vigilant.

Various waterways in the Canterbury Region

1 November 2018

Fluctuating water levels on various waterways, including rivers, lakes, and lagoons in Canterbury may result in fences, waratahs, or other objects being obscured from view and sitting below the surface. All water users are strongly recommended to exercise caution and keep your speed to 5 knots or less within 200 metres of the shore, unless the area is uplifted or has any other form of speed exemption. It is the responsibility of the skipper of the vessel to ensure that the area you are using is navigable and safe to transit.

Waimakariri River - exposed railway iron

21 September 2018

We have recently discovered a line of old railway iron that has become exposed, which is in the central part of one of the main flows of the Waimakariri River, on the true right bank between the two lines of pylons just upstream of Haul Road (between 18.5km and 19km upstream of the mouth).

Depending on the current river flow, they may be visible above water level or may be submerged. River users, particularly jet boaters, are advised to take extreme caution in this area, or avoid travelling on this braid if possible.

These irons will be removed as soon as flow conditions allow.  Please call 0800 324 636 with any questions.

Waiau River - navigation safety hazards— railway irons

3 July 2015

These are upstream of Leslie Hills Bridge (seen in the second photo in the Waiau River railway irons notice (PDF 466 kB)). Environment Canterbury is presently investigating removal options for these as they may present a hazard for boats on the river. No removal date has been scheduled – please check this website for updates.

In the meantime, river users are urged to exercise caution in this area, particularly at higher flows when the irons may not be as easily seen as they are at the low flow the photos were taken at. This site (see photos in the Waiau River railway irons notice (PDF 466 kB)) can easily be seen from upstream and downstream in good time to allow boaters to avoid the objects. For further information contactharbourmaster@ecan.govt.nz

Lower Clarence River / Waiau Toa - navigation safety hazards - sputniks

30 January 2015

Sputniks are large concrete blocks with protruding steel beams that were historically used on rivers for bank protection. Many still exist on some rivers, including several in the lower Clarence / Waiau Toa, some of which are navigation safety hazards for those boating the river. For more information see the Sputniks notice (PDF 710 kB).

Brooklands Lagoon - submerged objects

30 January 2015

Submerged and semi-submerged objects including tree stumps have been reported in the Brooklands Lagoon water ski area. Users of this area are advised to exercise caution as these objects may be difficult to see, particularly if navigating at towing speed.